In a Nutshell
Featuring 20 stories by William Shakespeare, this collection can be an excellent way to introduce young readers to these classics
- Complete set of 20 stories by William Shakespeare
- Excellent way to introduce young readers to these classics
- Illustrated, thoughtfully narrated and simplified for an easy read
- Ideal for children aged 7-9
All’s Well That Ends Well:
Another one of Shakespeare’s witty comedies, this play is woven around Helena, the orphaned daughter of a famous physician, and Bertram, the son of her guardian. Helena is in love with Bertram, but he does not return her feelings. Nevertheless, Helena uses her intelligence to win Bertram as her husband.
Antony and Cleopatra:
Antony and Cleopatra is a famous Shakespeare tragedy which follows actual events from Roman History. It is set in ancient Rome and Egypt, revolving around, Antony, a Roman General, and Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt. Antony falls in love with Cleopatra, and throughout the play remains torn between his duty and his love for her. A fun way to introduce young readers to Roman History!
As You Like It:
As You Like It is set in the enchanted Forest of Arden, where Rosalind, the daughter of an exiled duke, and Orlando, the son of one of her father’s courtiers, become entangled in a game of love and mistaken identity.
The Comedy of Errors:
This is one of the earliest plays written by William Shakespeare. It revolves around two sets of identical twins that were separated at birth. Years later, fate brings them to the same city, and this unleashes the drama caused by mistaken identities.
Cymbeline, King of Britain:
Cymbeline, King of Britain is a romantic play interwoven with war and tragedy. It revolves around Cymbeline and his daughter, Imogen, who marries a lowborn gentleman, Posthumous against her father’s wishes – and much to the displeasure of the evil stepmother. After their marriage, Posthumous is banished from Britain and Imogen is held as a prisoner in the palace.
Julius Caesar is another one of Shakespeare’s famous plays that portrays actual events from Roman history. Set in ancient Rome, the play unfolds the evil conspiracy behind Caesar’s murder and the great tragedy that strikes Rome in the aftermath of his death – An excellent way for readers to learn at the same time.
King Lear is one of the greatest tragedies by Shakespeare. The play is focused around Lear, the aging King of Britain, and his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia. When Lear wants to step down from the throne, he decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters and asks each daughter how much she loves him. Goneril and Regan, greedy for their share, give him flattering answers, while Cordelia remains silent, which enrages Lear and forces him to disown her. The play tells of Lear’s fate once he has given up his kingdom and destroyed his relationship with his daughter.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the most popular comedies by Shakespeare. Just as confusing, and equally as entertaining, the play revolves around Hermia and her best friend, Helena. Hermia runs away into the woods with her lover, Lysander. Demetrius, the man of her father’s choice, then follows them. Helen, being in love with him, follows Demetrius. In the woods however, they come across Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Fairies, where much confusion is created when Puck, one of the fairies, causes havoc with a love potion.
Much Ado About Nothing:
A story of love, trust and lies is interwoven in Shakespeare’s popular comedy, Much Ado about Nothing. The play is set in the quiet town of Messina in Sicily, where two pairs of lovers, Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero, meet at the house of Leonato, Hero’s father and Beatrice’s uncle. Benedick and Beatrice engage in a war of witty exchanges, while Claudio and Hero pledge their love for each other and decide to get married. However, in an unexpected turn of events, Hero and Claudio are estranged and Benedick and Beatrice confess their love.
Othello, The Moor of Venice:
Othello is one of the most powerful tragedies written by William Shakespeare. Othello is a Moorish general who falls in love with Desdemona, the daughter of a powerful senator of Venice. The play is about their love and the progression of Othello’s mistrust and jealousy when he his mislead by an apparent friend, which ultimately leads to a murder.
Romeo and Juliet:
Romeo and Juliet needs no introduction. Younger readers will be suitably introduced to one the greatest love stories ever to be written. Romeo and Juliet is the tragic love story of the ‘‘star-crossed lovers,’’ Romeo and Juliet. Set in the city of Verona, Italy, the play revolves around the feud between two affluent families, the Montagues and the Capulets. Despite the enmity, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet fall passionately in love and wed in secret. However, the enmity between both disapproving families overpowers and leads everything to go terribly wrong.
The Tragedy of Macbeth:
Macbeth is one of the darkest tragedies written by William Shakespeare. The play revolves around a power-hungry Scottish lord, Macbeth, and his lady, who conspire to kill King Duncan. After Duncan’s death, Macbeth ascends the throne, only to be consumed by guilt, panic and paranoia, which ultimately lead him to his doom.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
A story of friendship and how it can overcome all odds, The Two Gentlemen of Verona is another popular romantic comedy by Shakespeare. It is about two inseparable friends, Valentine and Proteus, and how their friendship is affected when they fall in love. Even though their friendship is tested, they deal with their problems and come out better than ever on the other side.
Timon of Athens:
Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens is the tale of a rich Athenian who lived a lavish life, spending his wealth on his friends. Eventually, when his wealth ceases and he asks his friends for help, Timon is shocked to find that none of them are prepared to do so. This fills him with hatred for humanity, and he goes on to live the life of a hermit.
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare is a delightful comical love story. The play begins with a shipwreck, during which Viola, a young aristocratic-born woman, is separated from her identical twin brother, Sebastian – only to be swept onto the shores of the Kingdom of Illyria where she disguises herself as a man and falls in Love with the Kingdoms Duke. Thus begins this entertaining tale of mistaken identities and thwarted love.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark:
Hamlet is one of the most popular tragedies written by Shakespeare. It tells the sad story of Hamlet; the Prince of Denmark returns home after gearing of his father’s death it is then that he discovers the evil plot of his Uncle Claudius. The play is focused around how Hamlet learns the truth about his father’s death and seeks revenge – only for this to be his own downfall.
The Tempest is set on a remote island inhabited by Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan, and his daughter, Miranda. Prospero, now a magician, uses his magic to control the spirits of the island. With the help of the spirit Ariel, he conjures a tempest in the sea to draw in his brother, Antonio, and Alonso, King of Naples, who had unlawfully stolen his dukedom. The play revolves around Prospero’s attempt to restore himself and his daughter to their rightful position.
The Taming of the Shrew:
One of Shakespeare’s most robust comedies, The Taming of the Shrew, is about Katherine, the ill-tempered daughter of a wealthy merchant in Padua. Katherine is so petulant that her father always believed no man would ever want her as his wife. However, Petruchio, a rich and arrogant young man, comes into Katherine’s life and together they begin to realise the error of their ways.
The Winter’s Tale:
One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies: Set in Sicily, it revolves around King Leontes who is consumed by his doubts about his wife’s loyalty – resulting in jealous murder plots and estranged relationships. The Winter’s Tale will teach young readers the importance of mistrust and the consequences of it.
Richard III is one of Shakespeare’s most popular historical plays. It takes place in the final years of the War of the Roses, when the first and last Yorkist kings rule England. In it the hunchbacked Richard, Duke of Gloucester, covets his brother’s betrayal and manipulation of family, friends and foe alike, as well as some of Shakespeare’s most famous lines.
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